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Re: orion dss and rabbis
Stephen Goranson considers the word play between the Seekers of Smooth
Things and Pharisee halakhah legitimate in light of the " presumed
misleading teaching of the group (edah) also called Ephraim, and how that
relates to Manasseh and to the author's group (elsewhere: Judah)."
I think "presumed" is the operative word here. There is nothing in the
text of pNah to suggest Ephraim and Manasseh are sects. This view only came
about as a result of the proposed background of pNah under Alexander
Jannaeus, which is itself doubtful. Stephen, you (and many other reputable
scholars) may consider the conventional interpretation of pNah as being as
good as fact (alongside the Essene hypothesis) and build all sorts of
historical conclusions on this foundation, but I think it's useful to
identify where the assumptions are in a scholarly construct and to question
and test those assumptions.
Stephen views "the recognition that 4QpNah is an Essene text referring to
Pharisees and Sadducees" as "one of the most historically-useful observations
available from the Qumran texts."
The language "recognition" and "observation" is less appropriate,
perhaps, than "assumption," and is consistent with Stephen's view that the
conventional view of pNah belongs to the realm of fact, not opinion (a view I
think Fred Cryer has eloquently criticized on a methodlogical level).
Whether this assumption is historically useful is a matter of debate. I
consider this interpretation of pNah to have derailed a genuinely historical
study of the scrolls for the last four decades, by effectively removing from
discussion the obvious links between the scrolls and the Maccabean and
>And the view of a "systematic" use of animal
>symbology goes beyond any party line on exegesis that I have suggested.
I cannot penetrate your meaning here. Perhaps a clarification is in order.
>What's the problem if 4QpNah criticized Alexander?
This phrasing sidesteps the problem I identified, namely that the lion
imagery violates the interpretive principle found throughout the sectarian
literature ( ! including 4QpNah 3+4 ii 1) that wild animals symbolize
There is an additional problem in the Hymn to Jonathan, which we agree
refers to Jannaeus. This explicit reference is a real datum, not an indirect
inference from pNah. Stephen's suggestion that this hymn belongs to the
period when Jannaeus, his Wicked Priest, had a favorable reputation is less
I think it would be useful to acknowledge that current views on pNah are
less than certain rather than minimizing the problems associated with current
-- Russell Gmirkin